Why the Germans were afraid to surrender to the young soldiers

History 09/01/20 Why the Germans were afraid to surrender to the young red army

during the great Patriotic war, the Red army captured 2 733 739 soldiers of the Wehrmacht, SS and SD (according to the NKVD) and 752 467 troops of the satellite countries of Germany (Hungarians, Romanians, Italians and Finnish), almost 3.5 million people. There is no doubt that it was ready to give up an even greater number of enemies — just in a combat situation is not always surrendering was given this opportunity. In addition to the banal excesses (when the soldiers were killed, only taken prisoner by the Germans out of hatred for him) and errors (when by chance in the battle were killed have lay down their arms and raised their hands), willing to surrender, the enemy was able to kill due to the fact that they are not definitely expressed this willingness, failed to comply with a few simple rules.

first, the surrender charge during the battle was absolutely necessary to make two absolutely clear and signaling the surrender of the action: to throw aside a weapon, stand up straight and lift up your hands. It is advisable to speak loudly or shout “surrender!”, but there was one like it. Usually it helped, and Soviet soldiers, even hating the Germans surrendering were not shot. So, the senior Lieutenant of the 7th company of the 3rd battalion 653 regiment Cherkashin recalled how broke into the enemy trenches, faced with the German and sent him to the weapon: “Behind the glasses — distraught, terrified eyes… I did not kill a German, seeing as he dropped his gun and raised his hands.” Usually Soviet soldiers (especially in the beginning of the war) is not spent in combat your time on reprisals against prisoners who surrendered. Rookie Yuri Glazunov recalled that at the beginning of the war, when the Germans had not yet hated as the most terrifying of beasts, the prisoners “were treated as out of the game”, that is neutral and even sympathetic (propaganda, after all, first taught that German is the class friend, a worker, toAK and Russian, but it is only the capitalists brainwashed and forced to fight).

Even better was to give all units not in combat to avoid sudden shelling or air RAID. Commonly ready to surrender the part of the recovering officer of truce to negotiate with the officers of the red army. The terms of the surrender were complete disarmament and the transfer of all military equipment and supplies to the Soviet command.

If captured, the Germans were alone or in a small group, there was little prospect of greatly affect your fate. But still it was better to stay closer to Soviet officers and men to be older, more balanced, more likely to follow the orders of the command (prisoners not to kill), not next to the young soldiers, burning with vengeance for the heinous crimes of the Germans on the territory of the USSR, the disclosures of which are still ledent blood. Thus, the German Hans Becker in the book “In war and in captivity. Memories of a German soldier. 1937-1950” described that after the surrender the soldiers wanted to Lynch him several times. In camp it was escorted by two young soldier and Junior officer. On the way (part of which overcame foot) officer gone out of necessity, and at this time, soldiers with eyes full of hatred, led Becker (arbitrarily) to be shot. At the last moment the German returned, saved the commander, practically snatching the rifle from the hands of his younger friend, already put Becker up against the wall. So keep your eyes open, do not interfere with any prisoner in any situation.

In the case depended very much. As the historian S. Karner in the book “Archipelago GUPVI. Captivity and internment in the Soviet Union. 1941-1956”, the fate of the prisoner was in the hands of unknown soldiers and officers who could decide to live or die prisoner: “a Chance to survive in the initial phase of captivity, sometimes just to survive on the battlefield was small compared to later phases of captivity”. Karner believes that 40% of prisoners who surrendered to the red army (almost 1.5 million people) did not survive the first phase of the captivity, and was not even registered as prisoners. In organizations, accounting officers and soldiers, they were considered as missing. Of course, this assessment of Karner and scientists of the Institute for the study of the consequences of war to them. L. Boltzmann (Graz, Vienna, Klagenfurt) is tentative, with the same success it would be possible to write “30%” and “50%”. But probably the Karner right that many prisoners died in the camps died or were killed after the battle or on the way to GUPVI. Where the fighting was particularly brutal (Stalingrad, Kursk, Konigsberg), bloody was the massacre of the Germans. Sometimes the Soviet commanders had even to complain of his soldiers. For example, a member of the military Council of the northwestern front, P. Ponomarenko, wrote in his diary in March 1942 the Germans: “of Course, give up a little… if we shoot the prisoners in full view of the Germans.” Shortly before the red army in his front was destroyed by a group of Germans surrendered and marching with hands raised to the side of the Soviet position. To cope with the lynchings and failed to end the war. To its latest days, soldiers often brutally took revenge on imprisoned enemies who caused so much suffering to their homeland.

Konstantin Dmitriev

© Russian Seven

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